Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Big Answer!

So, what was that picture from the other day about? You know, this one right here:

It's a new church that our former pastor is starting. Well, I can't say that he is our former pastor, he's really still our pastor because we are helping him start it. No, we haven't left our ministry at Good News Mission. We are still here. It's just that our pastor felt led to start a non-denominational, less traditional, church in our area and we chose to help in any way needed. So, we are presently meeting in a youth ministry building that the Methodist church owns. This youth ministry building has a large game room and a large auditorium with a stage and sound and music equipment. So, this former Baptist pastor is starting a non-denominational church in a building from a ministry started by Methodists. This is truly an interesting new venture. Anyway, this new church is called "The Bridge Community Church" and our first Sunday we had over 70 folks that attended! Please pray for this new ministry and for those involved. Thanks ahead of time.

Oh, and by the way, I'm really not that bald. It's just the way the light is shining! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

You are so BeeYoutiful to Me!


♫♪      You are so beautiful       ♫♪
To me
You are so beautiful
To me
Can't you see
You're everything I hoped for
You're everything I need
You are so beautiful
               To me            


That's one of those songs that I sing to my wonderful wife and children periodically. It's one of those old songs that stick in my head and I often find myself whistling or humming the tune. It reminded me of the great line of products that we have been using lately. But, in that case, it should be "You are so Beeyoutiful" to me because the line of products is from the great company Beeyoutiful.  We reviewed this great company of natural health care products a couple of years ago and loved it. Back then we were given a product called Tummy Tuneup to use. Click here to get to that review.

For a long time now, my family has been trying to live healthier. I've blogged about it, here on Families Again and talked about it personally to many people. We don't go overboard, or spend lavishly, but we do our best to eat right and use natural, healthy products. Beeyoutiful is one of those companies that we turn to when looking for one of those natural products to use. I don't usually cut and paste something from a companies website to use in my reviews, but I really liked this statement from the BeeYoutiful website and I don't think I could say it better myself. Here it is:

At, we believe that each individual is responsible for their own health. It is not a doctor's responsibility to keep you in good health. Instead they are a tremendous resource, especially for those times when urgent care is required. But, they are only one of many resources. And the tools they use, while powerful, are not the only tools available. But a tool is worthless unless one knows how to use it.

I really like that motto, and it speaks to what we have really attempted to do in our household. And, when you look at it, healthy, natural preventive care is a lot cheaper than expensive medical care. And, what I like about Beeyoutiful, is that it really attempts to use all natural - all healthy ingredients in their products. I'm tired of putting unnatural yucky stuff on my body or, worse yet, inside of my body.

This year, instead of Tummy Tuneup, we were sent two fantastic products that worked great as well.


B.A.L.M.: Beeyoutiful All-natural Lip Balm - In our house, chapped lips during the winter - well, really during any time of the year - is a big problem. We are constantly buying some type of lip ointment for our kids lips. Well, while it's hard to put a lot of unnatural, unhealthy ingredients in a lip balm, there still can be some food coloring or some "not too good for you" ingredients in some of the mass produced products. Remember, Beeyoutiful uses natural ingredients in their products. We got the peppermint lip balm this year and loved it. Joshua had a case of really bad chapped lips and this was just the trick. He loved the taste and, as we are used to with Beeyoutiful's line of products, it worked quickly and efficiently.


Ow!- Ease: Okay! You know that we have three boys. Three rambuncious boys. Three rambuncious boys that love to do things like wrestle, sword fight with sticks, chase each other, get angry with each other and throw fists periodically (What! The Tinkel boys throw fists!!! Never! Smiley). Anyway, I think you get the picture. Well, along with all of this energy comes frequent bruising and tears. Guess what other product we received in the mail from Beeyoutiful? Ow!-Ease! I never would have guessed that a nifty little product like this would work. It comes in a fat tube, kind of like a lip balm tube but much bigger and fatter. All you do is just rub a little of this product on the injured area and, VoilĂ , the pain goes away. And it speeds up the healing. Ow!-Ease is not just for bruises, though. It also works on sprains, strains, torn muscles, etc. Right after we got our tube of Ow!-Ease in the mail Jacob fell and bruised himself. I opened up our handy-dandy tube, rubbed it on, and never heard another complaint out of him. It worked!

We are really sold on Beeyoutifuls products. Their All-natural lip balm sells for $3 a tube and the Ow!-Ease can be purchased for $15 a tube. Some of the other TOS Crew members received other Beeyoutiful products that I am a little jealous about. I would have liked to have tried the Tension Tamer, Miracle Skin Salve or Berry Well. Want to find out what they are? Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to the Beeyoutiful website, or click here to get to the reviews that the other TOS Homeschool Crew members wrote. Happy Healing - or, hopefully - Happy Preventive Healing!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free tube of  B.A.L.M.: Beeyoutiful All-natural Lip Balm and a free tube of Ow!-Ease to try out and give my honest review on this blog.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

What is this all about...

and who is that bald guy sitting about three rows back on the right side?

Actually I think it's just the light because I don't think he's that bald! Anyway, you'll find out the story behind this picture tomorrow.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Today Was Cleaning Day...

Just got done mopping the floors. Late at night is the best time when you have three rambunctious boys and an ornery dog! I thought about this song while I was working...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh Where, Oh Where, Has My GFC Gone...

Oh Where, Oh Where, Can it be?

GFC stands for Google Friend Connect and it has been doing some crazy things lately. In fact, my Google Friend Connect that has 105 followers listed disappeared for a little while today, and it may disappear for good sometime next week! It seems that GFC is only going to be available for blogger blog platforms and not for any other blog platform. Now, I know that Families Again is a blogger blog, but the GFC that has most of my followers on it was transferred from my angelfire blog. So, the GFC computers (where ever they are) recognizes it as being on a non-blogger blog.

It's all confusing and I don't expect you to understand it. Hey, I don't even understand it all myself. Here's what I am asking though. If you think that you are one of those 105 followers in my big Google Friend Connect box to the right, could you please re-sign up using one of the other methods that I have. The new connect box right under the 105 GFC box is a "Linky Follower" box. It's just like GFC but it is new and done by the great folks that do the Meme and Blog Carnival link tools. Under the "Linky Follower" box is another Google Friend Connect box. This one, however, is one that I know will stay and won't get deleted next week. If you like GFC and want to stay with it, then that's the one for you. The last method that you can use to sign up is through NetworkedBlogs. They're the folks that are on Facebook. If you sign up through them, then you just check on Facebook to see if I posted anything new.

For those of you who are used to this type of thing I know that you'll figure it out. For the rest of you...I know, I's all so confusing. I'm thoroughly confused myself. I need a hot shower and a good nights rest. UGH! Why do things have to be so complicated?!?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's Picture Day!

I used to love those words when I was a kid. It was always so exciting to get my picture taken at school, then, a few weeks later, get a packet of school pictures to take home. I know, some of them look corny now, but it was always fun back then.

Those words are still exciting to me, but not in the same way. I'm certainly not in school anymore, and, since my kids are homeschooled, we don't have the same type of "picture day". They're exciting to me because it means that new pictures of one of my Compassion International kids have come in the mail!

Many of you know that we sponsor six Compassion International children. No, not all of them financially. I wish we could afford to sponsor more than six financially though. Really, though, we only sponsor one financially and we are correspondence sponsors for five others. Compassion International assigns correspondence sponsors when a child's regular sponsor is unable to write or doesn't want to write. Writing to your sponsored child(ren) is a big thing with Compassion International. They say that it is equal to the financial support. We enjoyed writing to Marcelo, the boy that we sponsor, so much that we took on five more children to sponsor. We get regular updates about our correspondence kids just like we do Marcelo. In fact, we are treated like, and they think that we are, their financial sponsor.

It is such a joy to sponsor these kids. We write all of the time and get regular letters back from them. The cream colored envelope says "It's a letter from your sponsored child!" on the outside and we can't wait to open it to see who it is from. Every two years we get a special envelope. It's an envelope with updated pictures in it. Yes, we have to wait two years to get new pictures. Sometimes a Compassion country office will send pictures of the child with purchased items if you sent the child gift money, but usually we only get new pictures every two years. Boy, the changes that we see. Sometimes we hardly recognize them. I remember when we first got an updated picture of Marcelo. I didn't think it was him. I thought Compassion had made a mistake! Take a look and you'll see why!

That comparison was done a couple of years ago. We're now on our third picture of Marcelo. Take a look at our handsome 15 year old Bolivian son now!

Can you imagine, though, what it must be like for some of the Compassion International kids to get their picture taken? Some of them have probably never gotten their picture taken or seen themselves in a picture before. Think about Somi, our Indonesian child. He lives in a round hut with a grass roof. You can see one of those types of huts behind him in this picture.

Sometimes I marvel thinking about things like that. We take so much for granted here in America. Anyway, I've talked so much that I almost forgot to post the pictures the new pictures that we got. There of Ismael our Nicaraguan boy. He is our youngest child at 7 years old. I think the original picture was taken when he was four. See how much he has changed?


It has been a joy to sponsor kids through Compassion International. Financial sponsorship costs less than a cup of coffee a day. If you would like more information on Compassion International or on sponsoring a child, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

So, what do you like best about Families Again?

I've been lazy! I know. I have plenty of things I could use as an excuse. Our church is going through a challenging time. Our ministry is going through a challenging time. We have homeschool, therapies, shooting...etc. etc. etc. Our lives are extremely busy. Realistically, though, I've been lazy in not posting. I've missed days and I've missed opportunities to post. I need to get back "on the stick" as my mom would say.

Actually, though, I've enjoyed the time off a little. I've enjoyed not having the pressure of having to post something every day. Don't get me wrong. I love my blog, I writing posts, and I love my readers. Sometimes, though, I go through writers block. I just can't think of anything to write about. I feel like you all tire at me writing about what's going on in our life. Or about BCM International or Compassion International. Or about goal setting - which, by the way, I know my goal setting post is late. Or reviews.

Hey, maybe that's what I need to do. Ask you all what you like best about my blog. Do you like the homeschool product reviews? Do you like reading about my family and/or ministry.? Do you like my goal setting posts? Do you like my posts about BCM and or Compassion? Do you like my general posts? What do you like best? I don't think I'll stop blogging about any of the above things altogether, but it would be nice to know what you all enjoy.

Leave me a comment and let me know! This might be fun.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here?

I grew up in an old coal mining town. My grandfather was a coal miner and even had his own small mine. Grandpa was very old fashioned. Although he was retired, he was still very active and had a huge garden and a small farm. We moved in with him half way through my second grade year. My parents thought that, since he was getting older, he needed someone to take care of him. So, we moved back to the old homestead - the house that my mom was born in.

Glen Richey was not a bad town. There were a lot of good people that lived there. They were hard working people. The kids worked hard too. And, they played hard. They were taught how to defend themselves. Unfortunately, though, just like any town, there were the bullies as well. And, unfortunately, I was a preachers kid from out of town, and was never taught how to defend myself. To put it plainly, I was a wimp. The fact that my last name was Tinkel didn't help either. I was picked on unmercifully in elementary school up through seventh grade and then even a little through high school. Oh, my classmates were all very nice to me, it was older kids that picked on me.

I had a terrible inferiority complex. I really could have used the Apologia Press course Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? by John Hay and David Webb. It's part of the Apologia Press series called What We Believe. The subtitle for this wonderful study is "Biblical Worldview of Self-Image". We didn't have ANY courses on self-image let alone a Biblical course when I was growing up. I'm sure glad that Apologia decided to make one for today's young men and women.


This wonderful book has eight lessons (click here for a download of the table of contents). Each lesson is designed to be completed over a six day period. In fact, the recommended schedule divides each lesson into a three week period with a student working with Who Am I? And what Am I Doing Here? two days each week. Although the Apologia website says that this book is written for children ages 6 to 14, it is written on a fifth or sixth grade level, so a younger child may need the text read to him. Really, with some adjustments, this course could be used with any age child even through adult. It is part of Apologia's What We Believe series.

John Allen has really enjoyed this book. It combines interesting stories along with scripture to lead a child in having a healthy self-image. One that is based on God. After all, we are made in His image. We received a Notebooking Journal along with the text. The journal guides the student in what to do every day. This truly is a self study course. No teacher preparation is needed. The only requirement is that you listen and discuss when a discussion time is called for or whenever your student just needs to chat.

You can purchase the hardback well bound text for $39 and the spiral bound notebooking journal for $24. There is also a coloring book for younger students (or older if they still like to color) for $8. There is even an audio CD of the textbook that you can purchase for $19. This would be handy for the younger student. Click here to find out more about Who Am I? and to download a sample lesson. You can find out what other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew thought about this product by clicking here. Happy Home Educating.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free copy of the Who Am I? And What Am I Doing Here? textbook and notebooking journal to try out and give my honest review on this blog.



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This week has been a real doozy! On top of our usual homeschool and ministry schedule, we have had some church related events and some extra ministry situations to deal with. Them, as you probably know by now, two of my children are competitive rifle shooters. John Allen has a big air gun match - his first big one - this weekend so we have been trying to fit in extra practices. Please pray for all of the things that are dealing with, and for John Allen this weekend. Thank you ahead of time.

Now, in honor of my rifle shooting boys, I was forwarded this poster in an email and thought I would share it here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

OH MY! I Missed A Post!

It doesn't happen very often, but I missed a post! I usually post every day.

Anyway, I can't fully tell you why I missed, but it has something to do with ministry. Things have been happening around here and, although something "challenging" has happened it could potentially be breakthrough in some aspects of our ministry.

Please pray for the "situation" that I can't fully explain right now. Thanks all, and, hopefully, I will write again tonight.


Monday, February 13, 2012

What A Neat Couple!

A few days ago I posted a video about a couple who were both over 90 playing the piano in the Mayo Clinic atrium. I just found this follow up video of them. What a neat couple. I want to be like them when I'm 90!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

See-N-Spell Spelling and Vocabulary Reference Guide.


Have you ever read a story, heard a sermon or listened to a song and wondered how in the world the author/composer knew you or what you were going through? It was almost as if they were describing your life or speaking right to you.

That's the way it felt when I was first reading the introduction to See-N-Spell Spelling and Vocabulary Quick Reference Guide. It was like they were describing me! They hit the nail right on the head. They were describing how writers sometimes have a word that they want to use but, although it is in their speaking vocabulary it may not be in their written vocabulary. They may know how to use it correctly, but they don't know how to spell it correctly. So, instead of running the risk of spelling it incorrectly, they just choose another word. A word that they can spell but may not really convey what they are trying to say.

After reading that I thought "How did they know? How did they know that is what I do almost every time that I write?" I've been doing that for years. Boy do I wish that I had this simple little book when I was younger. Boy do I wish that I had this simple little book last week.

It really is a simple little book, but boy can it do wonders for a student, a writer, a homeschooler, name it. See-N-Spell has so many uses.


See-N-Spell is divided into three sections. The first section has over 300 commonly used words arranged on alphabetical order pages. The "A" page has all words that begin with the letter A. Each letter page is further divided up into parts of speech. So, if you couldn't remember how to spell a word but you knew it began with B and you knew it was a noun, you would just go to the B page, find the noun list and scan the words until you found the one you were looking for. All of the parts of speech are listed along with  a section of Homophones - words that sound the same when you say them, but have different meanings.

This is something I've needed for a long time. In fact, I found myself checking it just a few minutes ago as I was writing this review!

The second section is a list of commonly misspelled words listed in alphabetical order. Again, I used that section just a little while ago.

The last section is blank section where you can write in your own "Special Interest Words". Those are words that perhaps you have trouble spelling or using correctly but aren't listed in the other two sections.

I am really loving this book. Not only is it of so much help, it has so many uses. How about -

  • A quick reference guide for writers or students when they write.
  • A handy spelling list for homeschoolers. They can use the commonly misspelled word list.
  • A grammar guide for how to use a word in the correct context.

I could go on and on about how much I like See-N-Spell and the versatility of it.

It also came with a handy dandy See-N-Read. I reviewed the See-N-Read's last year. They are those awesome tools that are plastic with a slit in the middle that allows you to see one line of text at a time. This prevents a person from skipping lines and also help a student eliminate all of the clutter on the page so that they can concentrate on reading better and help them keep their place while reading.
So, how much is this great too you ask? The See-N-Spell is just $9.99 and comes with a FREE See-N-Read reading tool! You can find out more about them by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. The website also tells you more about the See-N-Read reading tool and how to purchase one separately. Again, many other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed See-N-Spell and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Spelling!
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free See-N-Spell and See-N-Read reading tool in order to try out and give my honest opinion on this blog.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I remember when I first saw this video. It was during my single days right before I got married to Sarah. I would sometimes sit at home and watch VH1 back when it still played music videos and didn't have all of the stuff it has on it now. There were some good songs that played back then. I remember that it brought me to tears even then. This was long before I ever dreamed of working with the low income folks here in Livingston. But, for some reason, I still had a heart for the less fortunate or folks that were down and out. I know that many of the problems that low income folks face are of their own doing. The projects are full of alcohol, drugs and promiscuous sex.

Many folks have an attitude of "Why should I help them? They got themselves into their own mess. They can get out of it." I can't really blame folks for thinking that way. I've often felt the same way.  Many times, however, I've caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and it dawned on me that I'm not really that different than the folks in the projects. How many mistakes have I made? How many messes have I gotten myself into that, if not for the Grace of God, could have turned out a lot worse than they are.

I'm reminded of the Christian singer that was lambasted by a famous evangelist because the beat of her music was a little too rocky for his tastes. Soon afterward he was caught having an affair. A reporter asked the Christian singer what she thought. He was hoping to get a juicy piece where she got her revenge. Instead she simply answered "By the Grace of God it wasn't me (that fell into the same sin)."

I don't know what caused the death of Whitney Houston today. It could very well be because of drugs or alcohol or the effects that those things had on her body from earlier years of abuse. Already there is talk on Facebook and comments such as "It's terrible but I'm not surprised." I also know, though, that despite the drug and alcohol abuse Whitney Houston did a lot of good for a lot of people. The movies that she made and the songs she sang were always full of hope. I also know that she was raised in the church. I hope and pray that she did indeed come to a personal relationship with the Lord.

Many will judge Whitney Houston by the mistakes that she made. I am no champion of Whitney Houston. I don't own any of her albums or movies. I am well aware of her past. But, I choose to not look at the speck that is in someone's eye when there might be a log in my own (Matthew 7:3-5). I choose to hope and pray that the songs and movies that she did will continue to inspire and work miracles in others lives just as, many years ago, this song moved me to look differently at others.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Adventures of Joshua in the Wonderful World of Mathland!


Once upon a time there was a little boy named Joshua. Joshua was a highly inquisitive little boy. His parents homeschooled him and could barely keep up with all of his questions. When something caught his interest he would spend months researching and reading almost all that he could on the subject. He could tell you details about things that some educated adults didn't even know. His mother would call him "The Little Professor" because that's what he would become if he took an interest in something. That was IF he took an interest in something.

Unfortunately there were some areas in his life that were more difficult than others. Math was one of those subjects. For some reason Joshua just had a hard time figuring arithmetic out. Even as he entered the third grade, he still had problems knowing all of his addition and subtraction facts. His parents searched for a math curriculum that would fit his needs and found the perfect one, but it was still slow going. Joshua just needed an extra boost. He needed a little something more than the excellent curriculum was giving him.

One day, unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua woke up one morning to a noise outside of his bedroom window. As he leaned on one elbow and rubbed his sleepy eyes he heard the noise again. It sounded like the whinny of a horse. He quickly pushed aside his curtains and, lo and behold, there was, indeed, a horse gently nibbling the grass right out side of the window. Silently, but quickly, Joshua got dressed and went out to see this wonderful spectacle. Normally he might have been afraid, but, for some reason, the horse seemed to beckon to him. Immediately there was an understanding between the boy and the beast. An understanding that the horse was not going to harm Joshua and that Joshua, in turn, would not harm it. Without hesitation Joshua hopped onto the already saddled back of the kind creature. Joshua had never been on a horse before. Where the knowledge of how to handle a horse came from he did not know. He did know, however, that it felt natural for him to be there. After a few more chomps of grass, the horse looked up and then began to gallop down the lane and into the morning fog.

Suddenly  the fog cleared and Joshua was in a land that he had never seen before. It was a beautiful land with a large field of lush green grass. He could see, far off in the distance on the other side of the field a house with a forest behind it, and behind the forest were tall majestic mountains. He was so enthralled with the sight that he hadn't noticed that the horse had stopped. As he looked down he noticed a huge gully separating he and the horse from the field. He was about to despair when he saw a bridge crossing the gully.


He tried to urge the horse on, but couldn't. He became so frustrated that he kicked at the horse with his feet but then stopped as he heard the most surprising thing he had ever heard. He heard the horse talk!

"Why do you kick me so young one? I move not because you must understand what will happen if you choose to cross that bridge." said the horse. "You see, across that bridge is Mathland, a magical country that helps you learn math. In Mathland you and I will go on wonderful quests doing heroic deeds, but, you must be warned, in order to complete those brave deeds, you must complete math problems. At first the math problems will be of an easy type - addition from 0-5. But soon, the addition problems will get more difficult until you are able to work addition problems up to 12. Then, you will face subtraction problems that range in difficulty and eventually multiplication and division."

"Ugh! Math!" cried Joshua. "Why did it have to be math? You see, oh noble horse, I don't do well with math. How would I ever be able to complete the quests that I am sent on."

"Worry not, my child. I, your faithful horse, Shadow, will help you as you go along. You will find that, although the math  might be difficult at first, it will become easier with time. And, you will see, that the rewards will be great."

"Well, I'm still not so sure, Shadow. But, if it will help me with my math, and if you will help, then I will try."

So, Joshua, reluctantly agreed to cross the bridge. Soon they were given their first quest. They were to go into the depths of Mathland and retrieve a magical flower. They could only do so, however, if they answered addition questions that dealt with the numbers 0-5. Soon they were galloping off across the countryside. Before long they came to sign that said "1+2=". Joshua did not know what this sign meant so he ignored it. Ahead was a gate that Shadow was to jump over.

"Oh, what fun." thought Joshua "We are going to be doing some jumping."

But, to his dismay, Shadow didn't jump but ran right through the gate. And he heard a voice say "1+2=3"

Another sign that said "3+2=" appeared, and also another gate, but Shadow ran through that one as well. Another voice kindly said "3+2=5".

Frustratingly Joshua said "Why aren't you jumping, Shadow? I want to have some fun."

"You must answer the math problem, young one. That is the only way that I can jump the gate. Oh, and please do so quickly. Running through these gates is not fun at all."

Soon another sign appeared that said "2+2=" but this time Joshua knew what to do.

"2+2...2+2...I know this one, I really do..." he said aloud as he began counting on his fingers. Just as they got to the gate Joshua shouted "Four!" and immediately Shadow took a huge leap and jumped over the gate.

Soon the original "1+2" sign appeared again.

"I know this one." said Joshua. "The kind lady told me the answer."

"Three!" he shouted. Once again Shadow leaped over the gate.

Now that he knew what to do the adventure became more fun. Joshua struggled with some of the answers at first. He would have to use his fingers on some. Most he answered correctly, but on others, poor Shadow would go crashing through the gate instead of jumping. True to his word, however, Shadow was a help. Joshua found that his faithful horse would sometimes slow down. He realized that it was when he was having difficulty answering a problem. When Joshua got into a rhythm, Shadow would speed up. They would answer problems and jump (or crash through) about thirty gates and then would stop for a rest before venturing on to face another thirty gates. It seemed that as questions reappeared it became easier for him to answer them. And the quicker he answered the questions, the further they went on their journey.

It took quite a few sets of questions to complete the quest, but soon they were done and it was time to journey back to their home base - that wonderful green field. As they road over the bridge, something was different. A beautiful flower had appeared in the middle of the field.

"Where did that beautiful flower come from?" he asked Shadow.

"It is a reward for you, young one. It is because you completed the quest."

Joy appeared on Joshua's face, but soon the smile turned to a frown.

"What is it, young one." inquired the horse.

"Is this all?" Joshua said with a sad voice. "Do I have to leave you and go back now."

"Not if you don't want to." assured Shadow. "There are more quests to venture on if you so choose."

That day, Joshua and Shadow went on many quests. Not all quests were easy, however. As Joshua was learning his math facts, the problems became more difficult and challenging. Many gates were crashed into along the way, but many gates were jumped as well. And, always to Joshua's amazement, when he got back to the lush green field, more rewards awaited them. It might be a beautiful pole with a gem on top that decorated the entrance to the bridge, or it might be another flower taller and more beautiful than the one before. Shadow assured him that when he was able to do the multiplication and division problems even more beautiful things would appear.

Soon it became dark. Joshua was worried about what his parents would think and sadly asked his new friend to take him home.

Before entering his home Joshua asked with tears in his eyes, "Will I ever see you again."

To his joy Shadow announced, "I will be waiting here for you in the morning, young one."

With joy in his heart, but also nervously because of his parents, he skipped away and entered the house.

To his surprise he found that his parents weren't upset at all.

"Are you ready for something to eat?" asked his mother. "You've been on many adventures today."

Joshua bewilderingly took the sandwich that was offered him and began to eat. For truly he was famished. As he ate he wondered how his parents knew but did not ask.


Later that evening he noticed his father going through a door in his house that he had never seen before.

"Such wondrous things are happening in our house." Joshua thought. "First a talking horse and a magical Mathland. Now a secret door."

Joshua crept up to the door to see what was inside. Inside he saw his father manipulating woundrous charts and graphs by stepping on them. When his father saw him standing at the door, he motioned for him to enter.

"These charts and graphs are telling me how you are doing on your quests in Mathland." said his father. Joshua was taken aback and wondered how his father knew about his secret place but before he could ask, his father continued. "See," he went on, "When I step on this button, it tells me that you have mastered the addition fact of 3+3. This one tells me, however, that you are still having a hard time with 4+7. But I'm proud of you, Son. Since going on these adventures in Mathland you have been really doing a lot better in remembering all of your basic math facts."

Joshua and his father had a wonderful time in that amazing room. It had so much information that helped he and his father know how he was doing. With just a click of a button his father could see anything he wanted about Joshua's adventures.

That night Joshua slept soundly. There were no more worries about doing math. In fact, Joshua was beginning to actually like math. He was looking forward to going on more adventures with his new friend, Shadow, and learning more things in Mathland.

And, they lived happily ever after.


Oh, all right, you caught me again. This story is about my Joshua and he really didn't see a horse out his window and there really wasn't a door that appeared in his house. All of these things really happened on our computer. All of the other things, however, are true. We really do love this intelligent math game and Joshua has really learned so much by using it. Want to try it out for yourself? All you have to do to get to this wonderful downloadable game called Math Rider is click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Math Rider offers a free trial so that you can check out the game with no purchase necessary, but, don't take too long to decide! Until February 15 the price is just $37 but, after that it will increase back to $47.

As usual, other members of the TOS Homeschool Crew reviewed Math Rider and you can find out what they have to say by clicking here. Happy Riding!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a free limited time download of Math Rider to try out and give my honest review on my blog.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

It's not the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but it's Really, Really, REALLY Cool!


When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius
The Age of Aquarius
Aquarius! Aquarius!

No, I do not believe in astrology, but, remember, I was a child of the 60's and the 70's and, yes, I know quite well who The 5th Dimension is. In fact, I love to sing some of the songs from The 5th Dimension. Just ask my kids. They often roll their eyes at me when I loudly break out singing a strange song from my youth. But, I digress. I added the above song to this post because it reminded me that, although Jupiter and Mars aren't going to align in the near future, Jupiter and Venus actually are going to align early next month.


Now, how do I know that? Because of Jay Ryan's "The Classical Astronomy Celestial Almanack" February 2012 edition! Jay Ryan, the great author of the "Signs and Seasons" homeschool astronomy curriculum, just began publishing his monthly Celestial Almanack in January 2012 and plans to continue at least through this year. You see, Jay Ryan loves the night sky. He loves the planets, the stars, the moon...he just plain old loves astronomy. He's been writing about it in one form or another since 1990. He decided to start "The Classical Astronomy Celestial Almanack" partially because the year 2012 is going to be an exciting astronomy year. You see, not only are Jupiter and Venus going to align, but also, later this summer, there's going to be a conjunction of Mars and Saturn and even the "Transit of Venus" this June. Don't ask me what all of that means. I just know that many of the events happening this year are very rare, once in a lifetime experiences. That's what this wonderful resource is all about. It's a guide to the night sky.

Now, I've been interested in astronomy for a long time. I remember when I was in college ad Haley's Comet came close to the earth. I also remember our trips to Florida when I was young and then, later, moving to Florida. Kennedy space center was always a fascinating place for me, and, the Florida night sky is always beautiful. I remember reading about rare celestial events and hearing about them on TV, but, it was usually too late to be able to make plans to see these amazing things happen. Computers were just new and, the internet hadn't taken off. Even today, it's difficult to search through all of the information on the night sky to find something that is easy to understand. I know. I've tried it before. I am so glad that I was chosen to review this new venture by Jay Ryan, because it is so easy to understand, yet packed with information.

The February edition of "The Celestial Almanack" has 21 colorful pages in it. But, as I said, it is packed full of information. Do you know why the month of February has 28 days? I didn't. You find out in this months edition (it has something to do with Julius Caesar ad Caesar Augustus). It also talks about the sun, what it is doing in during the different seasons of the year, and it's "declination". What is the suns declination? That's something else you'll have to find out by buying this months edition.

All of the above things were fascinating, but, not as fascinating as the night sky. Jay Ryan explains in such simple terms what is going on in the night sky and how to find the different constellations. And, he teaches all of these things using Classical Astronomy. Classical Astronomy means that you use nothing but your naked eye to find things in the sky. No binoculars, no telescope...nothing but your eyes. And it really works! I have never been able to find the different constellations except for maybe the big and little dippers. "The Celestial Almanack" teaches you how to find these things using what Jay Ryan calls the one star method. If you can find one or two major stars then you can find almost all of the constellations (if they are visible that is). The full color charts in this downloadable book help as well. The first night out I was able to find Orion, Canis Major and Taurus. I was fascinated and hooked! I went out again later that week (after a couple of rainy nights) and was able to locate Canis Minor, Gemini, Zenith, Perseus and more. I was even able to identify Mars and Jupiter. This might be common stuff for some of you, but it was never easy for me.

I am fascinated. As I said before, it is so easy, and all along the way Jay Ryan artfully teaches about God's great night sky. Yes, Jay Ryan is a Christian and teaches all of this from a Christian standpoint. Not, to worry, though, if you would rather not have something taught from a Biblical perspective. Everything that he writes is backed up scientifically and he also explains things in a scientific manner (in an easy way of course). As I said before, he also throws in a lot of fascinating facts. "The Celestial Almanack" is really great for the night sky savvy individual or one that is a novice like me.

So, how do you get this great monthly almanack? Is it for sale on a news stand? Nope. Do you have to subscribe to it? Nope. All you have to do is go to a great site called Currclick and download each edition monthly. To get to this months edition just click here. Each edition is only $3.00! The January edition is even on sale for $2.00 right now. I am here to tell you it is worth every penny! We have loved it. Again, just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above to get to this months edition. As usual, other TOS Homeschool Crew members have reviewed this great resource and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Night Sky Watching!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a free download of "The Classical Astronomy Celestial Alamanack" in order to try out and give my honest review on this blog.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Goal Setting Monday - Week 5


Well, this week officially marks the one month anniversary of my goal setting! If you remember, I divided my goals up into four areas - Healthy Living, Christian Life and Ministry, Family, and Home Improvement - blogging about a different one every Monday of each one. Today I'm back to week one - Healthy Living. Previously I've been updating you on how I've been doing on all of the goals, but that's beginning to take up a lot of space and time, so I've decided to normally update you on whatever goal area I'm blogging about that week and, if anything special has happened in another area, I might update you on that as well.

So, how have I been doing with my healthy living goals? Well, I'm happy to say that I have pretty much kept with almost all of my goals! I've been drinking a healthy juice or smoothie every day as well as introduced my family to it. They are loving it! I've baked at least one loaf of bread in the bread maker a week. I've limited my intake of coffee and soda and I've increased my intake of water. In fact, buying a case of water has become a habit every time we go to Wal-Mart! The kids are drinking a lot of water as well. We no longer have a gallon of sweet tea in the refrigerator nor a two liter of soft drink so, if they are thirsty, that's what they get. The only downfall is I've not been exercising as much as I should. So, guess what's going to lead off my goals for this week? You guessed it and here goes:

  1. Exercise more. I really need to do this. It is coming, but it is coming slowly. I need to walk or do some type of exercise every day.

  2. Making a double portion of some of our healthy meals and freezing half so that we have something quick to heat up on busy days. We are notorious for grabbing something at McDonalds or buying frozen pizzas on days when we just don't feel like cooking. This week was week five of Vintage Remedies' 8 Weeks to Healthy Living newsletters and it talked about just this thing. The newsletter had some great recipes that are perfect for doubling and freezing. It even gave detailed instructions on how to do it! I'm going to try to make and freeze at least one meal a week.

  3. Research and join a CSA with some of our income tax return money. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It's where you agree to buy so much fruit and vegetables - usually a bushel - on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. If we can join a CSA, then we can have plenty of fresh, local vegetables coming in throughout the spring and summer. So much so that hopefully we'll have enough to freeze or can some. That will be an adventure!

  4. Haul off our old broken down freezer (and other old broken down appliances) so that we have room for a new freezer to store all of these things that I am planning on doing.

  5. Begin planning and plotting our garden. More fresh produce!

  6. Continue juicing, making smoothies, baking bread, etc. from January's goals.

That should keep me busy for this month. How about you? What are your goals for this week. Leave a comment and let me know. Don't forget to join the "Goal Planning Monday" meme. You can find it by clicking here.

Happy Goal Setting!

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saw this on Facebook and had to share it on my blog!!

It will make your heart feel good! This couple is in their 90's and they have been married over 60 years! Enjoy.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ugh! When it rains it pours!

Many of you know that my boys are competitive shooters. John Allen was the best shooter at the Jaycee BB Gun State Match last year and both John Allen and Joshua went to the national competition in Rogers, AR. last summer. This year John Allen is shooting air rifle and Joshua is still shooting competition BB guns.

Anyway, the team practices every Saturday morning but we usually go one or two times a week extra to shoot (one of the advantages of being a homeschooler Cheesy). Well, yesterday on the way home from practice we hit a rut on a back road and, sure enough, got a flat tire. When I pulled over to change it, I couldn't get the spare tire to come down from underneath the van. I called a good friend of ours that owns a Goodyear tire place and he made a "house call" but, even he couldn't get the tire to come down. So, he jacked up the van, took the tire to his garage and was going to send one of his guys out to put the tire back on. In the meantime, Sarah and I were supposed to have our taxes done by another friend at her office. Sarah ended up walking down to her office (about a mile) as I called another friend to come and pick up the boys and I and then go to the tax place so I could sign the papers and we could pick up Sarah. Thank you, Lord, for good friends! Well, the rim of the tire was bent, so they couldn't fix the tire. They took the tire back to the van and left it there because I had locked the doors with all of the lug nuts inside. Back out to the car we went (thanks again to our good friend), put the tire back on, waited 45 min. for the AAA tow truck (which we found lived right down the road Sad) and then followed the tow truck to our friend's Goodyear place and left it there until probably Tuesday. We are without a spare car right now so we are sitting at home, thanking God for groceries and a grocery store within walking distance if need be. Church is also within walking distance if it's not raining.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. I was looking at our spring schedule and trying to work out mission's conferences, shooting matches, homeschool conventions, etc. while Sarah researched good used cars to spend our income tax return money on, when I noticed this:

April 20-22 - BCM Southeast Missionary Retreat - the one that we really need to go to because our "boss" will be there.
April 19-21 - Midwest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. - our favorite and the one we go to every year.
April 21 - Tennessee State JAYCEE BB Gun Championships - the one that we work all shooting season on and the one that qualifies us to go to Nationals.

As you can see we can't be in three places at once. However, we think we have made a plan. A missionary friend of ours lives in Toccoa, GA., the "Teach them Diligently" homeschool conference is about two hours away from her in Spartanburg, SC, and our missionary "boss" and his wife (I say that tongue in cheek because, although he is our boss, they are very good friends of ours) live in Alabama, about three hours away from Toccoa. So, it looks like we will be making a trip to visit our friend, go to the conference, and, hopefully, meet our boss and his wife for a day. And, we won't be missing any major shooting events!

Isn't life fun sometimes?!? Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Friday, February 3, 2012


I have be honest, when I heard that the TOS Homeschool Crew was reviewing Kinderbach again, I was not overly enthused. After all, we have already reviewed this piano/music theory program for kids ages 3-7 twice before. Click here  to get to last year's review. It's not that we don't like the program - we love it. I just thought to myself, what more could I write about this wonderful program. Well, when I told my 11 year old asperger's child that we would be reviewing it once again my attitude changed quickly. His first response was "You mean the one with Dodi? Yeah!" and he began to jump up and down in joy.

Dodi is one of the great characters that Miss Kari, the creator of Kinderbach has created. The characters are just one aspect of this program that Joshua loves. I've written about the characters in previous reviews, though. This time, after watching Joshua continue to enjoy the program, I thought I'd focus on why I think this program is excellent for kids like him. You may have noticed that I mentioned that Joshua is 11 years old yet I said above that Kinderbach was for ages 3-7. One of the great things about homeschooling is that when you homeschool, you can often go against the norm. You don't have to stick with grade or age level material with your  child. Joshua has asperger's syndrome - a form of autism along with ADHD. Often traditional learning programs and learning styles don't work for him. Although we have never tried it, I am quite confident that regular piano lessons probably would, more than likely, either drive him crazy if not the instructor first. Kinderbach has been great for him and as I watch Joshua use the program, I can see why it is perfect for him. Here's why:

  • It is captivating. The characters in this video based program are really appealing and keep the student's interest. As they are introduced, they become Joshua's friends. What a great way to learn - with your friends! The mixture of a live teacher and animation is really entertaining. Miss Kari is entertaining as well. She speaks right to the child and makes the child want to get involved and learn. Which brings me to the next point.

  • It's interactive. The student isn't just sitting in front of a keyboard or piano and plunking on the keys. Miss Kari has them up and down and moving quite a bit. With some of the lessons, if someone walked in and didn't know what was going on, they might think Joshua was doing aerobics!

  • It's short and sweet. Joshua could never sit through a normal 30 min. to an hour piano lesson. The lessons in Kinderbach are all less than 10 min. each, but, the Kinderbach series is divided into six levels with 10 weeks in each. Each week has four lessons in it. So, really you are getting four lessons a week of about six or seven minutes each. That would be close to thirty minutes a week. The same amount of time that you would get in a regular piano lesson but broken down into small chunks. Since Joshua is a little older and can handle a little more, I sometimes allow him to watch and complete a couple of videos at a time, but that doesn't always work. Sometimes there is more to do than just watch the video. Which brings me to my next point.

  • It's repetitive. Not in a bad way, but in a good way. Kids with aspergers syndrome often need repetition. Miss Kari always knows when and how to review something that they have learned in the past. Plus, there are also coloring sheets and a workbook that go along with the program. The workbook may have you cutting and pasting, drawing, or doing a simple but relevant pencil and paper activity. It all goes wonderfully together.

  • It's convenient. It's convenient in a lot of ways. Remember, Joshua has aspergers. Aspergers kids need schedules, but they often have off days. If I were to take Joshua to a piano lesson on one of his off days, it would be a waste of the teachers time and my money. He can watch Kinderbach when he is ready. He isn't confined to a certain time, or even area. You can even watch Kinderbach while you are on the road. While many of the lessons encourage you to use a piano or a keyboard, many do not. He can watch the video on our tablet or even on our phone and do the activities later.


I really could go on and on about Kinderbach and how it has been great for Joshua, but if I did, this review would be way too long. Click here to get to the Kinderbach website where you'll find a video that talks about the program a little more. Then, why not try it out for yourself. You can try the first two weeks of Kinderbach for free! Just click here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Kinderbach regularly is priced beginning at $7.99 a month for the online program. Or, you could purchase a DVD/CD package for $40.45 per level. Additional plans and materials are also available on their website. But wait! When you are ready to purchase, Kinderbach has offered a discount just for the readers of the TOS Homeschool Crew blogs! You can take 30% off any order for by using the Coupon Code: TOScrew2012. As usual many others from the TOS Homeschool Crew members have reviewed Kinderbach and you can find what they had to say by clicking here. Happy Home Educating!

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was given a limited time subscription to Kinderbach's online program in order to try out and give an honest review on my blog.

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Retread from February 2, 2011

After yesterday's Compassion International post, I thought perhaps today wouldn't be a wise time to post another Compassion International offering, but how could I say no to this one. It was one year ago that we began sponsoring our dear Yvone. Yvone is the only girl that we have amonst all of the boys that we sponsor. She has been a real joy to correspond with. So, in celebration of our one year anniversary with Yvone. Here's my retread from February 2, 2011.

We did it again! We've taken on another correspondence child from Compassion International. If you remember, Compassion has many companies (or even individuals) that give quantities of money to sponsor a child or many children but can't are aren't willing to write to that child. Writing to the child is a big part of Compassion's ministry, so, Compassion began the correspondence program. That's when another sponsor can sign up to write to a child that doesn't have anyone that writes to them. You then become that child's correspondence sponsor. We sponsor one child through Compassion - Marcelo from Bolivia and have four other boys that we correspond with - Feyber from Colombia, Somi from Indonesia, Emmanuel from Tanzania and Ismael from Nicaragua.

Well, John Allen and I had a great idea for a Christmas gift for Sarah. We requested another correspondence child and, you probably can guess from the font color, this time it's a girl. We thought that perhaps a girl would make Sarah a little more interested in Compassion. Up until now she has listened to the letters and prays for the kids, but the writing has always been mine and the boys thing. Well, she's promised to write to whomever Compassion sends to us. We didn't get her for Christmas, but received word the other day that Niyonsenga "Yvone" from Rwanda is our new daughter!

Sarah was particularly excited that she goes by Yvone because Yvonne (two n's) is a family name. Both her mother's and sister's middle names are Yvonne and I think it goes back even further than that. Anyway, here's our new Yvone's picture and information. She is 13 years old and her birthday is June 20. Please pray with us as we write and try to disciple Yvone. Her father is dead and, although it seems her mother is alive, she lives with her grandmother. Thanks for all of your prayers for Yvone and our other Compassion children. If you want to know more about the Compassion program please click here. You won't regret it!

Niyonsenga Yvone